The FBS record book is full of improbable, impressive and sometimes comedic feats, for good or bad. NC State’s 1944 squad holds the record for the fewest yards gained by a winning team (10 yards), Wichita State’s 1969 team once fumbled 17 times in a single game and a trio of kickers have hit a 67-yard field goal — the FBS record.
Given how much the sport has evolved since the 1800s, many of the records in college football are probably untouchable, but not all of them should be written in permanent marker, rather than pencil.
Here are five FBS records that could potentially be broken during the 2021 season.
Most times making two or more field goals in a game, in a season
Record: 11 times
Record-holder: Andre Szmyt, Syracuse
In a 10-game season in 2020, Oklahoma kicker Gabe Brkic went 20-for-26 on field goal attempts and a perfect 49-for-49 on PATs. He made at least two field goals in a game eight times, including in each of the Sooners’ final seven games. He ranked third nationally at two field goals per game and he ranked in the top 50 nationally in field goal percentage (76.9 percent) and 12 of the kickers ranked ahead of him attempted 10 or fewer field goals last season.
Given the combination of Brkic’s accuracy, Oklahoma’s offense (sixth nationally in 2020 at 43 points per game) and the Sooners’ playoff potential (they’re No. 2 in the preseason AP poll), Brkic could potentially play in as many as 15 games this season if Oklahoma is to advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship, which would give him a legitimate chance to break Szmyt’s record that is only three years old.
Most games scoring two or more touchdowns rushing in a season
Record: 11 games
Record-holders: Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State; Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Season: 1988; 2011
Iowa State running back Breece Hall finished second nationally with 21 rushing touchdowns last season, when in 12 games, he had eight games with at least two rushing touchdowns. Hall scored a touchdown in every game, while averaging just over 23 carries per game, which means he’s an integral part of Iowa State’s offense, with the pedigree and the production to potentially reach a status that only Barry Sanders and Montee Ball have claimed.
Iowa State enters the season with its best-ever AP poll ranking of No. 7 and Hall is the Associated Press’ first-team All-American running back, so if the Cyclones return to the Big 12 championship, they’ll play 14 games this season and Hall has shown that he could come close to averaging two rushing touchdowns per game.
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Scoring 20 touchdowns by rushing/receiving, and passing for 20 touchdowns
Record-holders: Tim Tebow, Florida; Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan; Colin Kaepernick, Nevada; Cam Newton, Auburn; Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M; Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois; Lamar Jackson, Louisville; Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Season: 2007; 2007; 2010; 2010; 2012; 2013; 2016; 2019
The 20-20 club is an exclusive one and one that was established pretty recently, in the grand scheme of college football history, with Florida’s Tim Tebow and Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour becoming the first players ever to score 20 touchdowns by rushing or receiving, while also throwing for 20 touchdowns in the same season.
In total, only eight players had accomplished the feat and four of them won the Heisman Trophy that season. Two others — Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, were Heisman finalists, and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick finished eighth in Heisman voting.
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis could be the next player to join this exclusive club. In 10 games in the 2020 season, he threw for 20 touchdowns and rushed for 14, the latter of which was tied for seventh nationally with Clemson running back Travis Etienne and Missouri running back Larry Rountree, both of whom are now in the NFL.
Liberty was fourth among “others receiving votes” in the preseason AP poll, so the Flames could potentially play 13 games this season, which would give Willis a legitimate chance to join the 20-20 club. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder (19 passing touchdowns and 12 rushing touchdowns in the 2020 season) is another player to keep an eye on.
There are a number of other records and milestones that are held by dual-threat quarterbacks that Willis could reach this season, including:
- A quarterback passing for 400 yards and rushing for 100 yards in a game (12 times)
Archie Manning — yes, you may recognize that last name — was the first to ever accomplish this statistical feat when he threw for 436 yards and rushed for 104 against Alabama in 1969. The milestone wasn’t reached again until 1986 by New Mexico’s Ned James. In a win against Southern Miss last season, Willis threw for 345 yards and rushed for 97 yards, so he has come within shouting distance of the milestone before. He had three games last season with at least 100 rushing yards.
- A quarterback passing for 200 yards and rushing for 200 yards in a game (17 times)
Call this the “Denard Robinson.” The former Michigan quarterback had four games with at least 200 passing yards and 200 rushing yards and no other player in the history of the sport has had more than one. Reaching 200 rushing yards is a challenge for a quarterback, especially in a non-triple-option offense, but Willis ran for 168 yards in Liberty’s 2020 season opener against Western Kentucky — a game where he threw for 133 yards.
But if any quarterback in the country is capable of a 200-200 game this season, it’s Willis.
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Most 100-yard receiving games in a season, one team
Record: 20 games
Record-holders: Hawaii: Davone Bess (six), Jason Rivers (five), Ryan Grice-Mullen (four), Ross Dickerson (two), Ian Sample (two), Nate Ilaoa (one)
Hawaii’s 2006 season was when quarterback Colt Brennan threw for 5,549 yards — the third-most in FBS history — and even as the average annual FBS passing efficiency rating has steadily increased, no one has been able to match, or break, the Rainbow Warriors’ record set by their high-powered ’06 squad.
Ohio State has arguably the best wide receiver tandem in the country this season with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, who ranked 12th and 28th nationally in receiving yards per game last season, respectively. Olave averaged 104 receiving yards per game and Wilson averaged 90, so the two players came pretty close to both averaging 100 yards per game.
Yes, the Buckeyes will have to replace Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Justin Fields, who’s now on the Chicago Bears’ roster, but they have a crowded and talented quarterback room as they seek to replace one of the most talented quarterbacks in program history. CJ Stroud has the inside track to be Ohio State’s starter, so whether he is the team’s season-long starter or one of his teammates ultimately wins the job, whoever is taking snaps in the Scarlet and Gray will two of the best receivers in the country to throw to.
Olave had five 100-yard receiving games in the seven games he played last season, while Wilson had four such games in eight tries. Combined, that’s nine 100-yard receiving games in a combined 15 games played, or a 60-percent rate, so if the Buckeyes were to return to the national championship game again this season (read: likely a 15-game season), then Olave and Wilson could potentially come close to 20 100-yard receiving games between themselves if they repeat last season’s successes. That’s asking a lot, sure, but given the two receivers’ talent, the potential upside at the quarterback position and the strength of the Buckeyes’ offensive line, it’s not an unreachable feat.
Rushed for 40 touchdowns and passed for 40 touchdowns in a career
Record-holders: 17 players (most recent: Ohio’s Nathan Rourke)
Entering his senior season, Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder has 57 career passing touchdowns and 22 rushing touchdowns, so he has already crossed off half of his to-do list in order to join the 40-40 club and the other half will be difficult. He needs 18 rushing touchdowns to reach 40 for his career, so if Cincinnati plays 13 games this season, he’ll need to average almost 1.4 per game. Last season, Ridder scored 12 rushing touchdowns in 10 games, or 1.2 per game, so he’d have to improve upon last season’s average over the course of a longer season.
If Ridder really is the potential Heisman Trophy candidate and future NFL draft talent that some observers believe he is, then the Bearcats’ quarterback could make a run — no pun intended — at 40 career rushing touchdowns.